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diddler
10-21-2010, 2:52 AM
Ok, I'm not trolling, and I'm not looking for smarmy answers about applying logic to gun laws, etc.

Simply put, just trying to figure out why in history it came down that the lower receiver in an AR type rifle is the registered component, while the upper receiver shares that fame in a FAL type rifle.

Other than the fact that the magazine well is in the AR lower and in the FAL upper, all other functional aspects between either lower or either upper are basically the same. Is there a good reason why this decision was made? Is it really just where the magazine attaches?

Thanks!

russ69
10-21-2010, 3:33 AM
I could be wrong but the manufacturer may make a suggestion to the BATF and the BATF will review and approve it (or dis-approve). The one that bugs me the most is the Ruger auto, the barrel assembly is the controlled part. You can't switch barrels.

Thanx, Russ

OleCuss
10-21-2010, 3:38 AM
OK, I won't claim to actually know the answer, but I'd bet that the legislators/regulators just went with the existing reality for the AR's.

I'd bet the original AR manufacturer found it more convenient to stamp the serial number on the lower receiver. So the BATF views the part with the serial number as the firearm.

I know even less about the FAL but I wouldn't be surprised if the reason why it's upper is considered the firearm is for a reason just as banal.

PsychGuy274
10-21-2010, 3:46 AM
Ok, I'm not trolling, and I'm not looking for smarmy answers about applying logic to gun laws, etc.

Simply put, just trying to figure out why in history it came down that the lower receiver in an AR type rifle is the registered component, while the upper receiver shares that fame in a FAL type rifle.

Other than the fact that the magazine well is in the AR lower and in the FAL upper, all other functional aspects between either lower or either upper are basically the same. Is there a good reason why this decision was made? Is it really just where the magazine attaches?

Thanks!

You've made a crucial mistake by assuming gun laws have to be rational...

the_quark
10-21-2010, 4:28 AM
I'd bet the original AR manufacturer found it more convenient to stamp the serial number on the lower receiver. So the BATF views the part with the serial number as the firearm.

I'd started to reply with this idea, but then it occurred to me that I don't believe this is true on my M1911. Granted, that's a very old gun, but it made me think maybe the determination is more complex than "the part the serial number is on," because, by that logic, it'd be the slide on that pistol.

ETA: Or, am I mistaken, and, on my (manufactured in 1914) M1911, is the slide the "firearm", since it has the serial number?

ETFA: I was actually just mistaken, period - the serial number is on the frame. D'oh!

OleCuss
10-21-2010, 4:40 AM
I'd started to reply with this idea, but then it occurred to me that I don't believe this is true on my M1911. Granted, that's a very old gun, but it made me think maybe the determination is more complex than "the part the serial number is on," because, by that logic, it'd be the slide on that pistol.

ETA: Or, am I mistaken, and, on my (manufactured in 1914) M1911, is the slide the "firearm", since it has the serial number?

That really is quite an interesting question. But my guess is that if you put your slide on a different frame that the BATF would still consider the firearm with that serial number to be the gun with the slide which hold that serial number. To that extent I'd say that your slide is the firearm - but if the firearm is disassembled I don't know if the BATF would consider that slide to be a firearm.

You're more expert on this stuff than I am, so if you disagree I'll likely adopt your viewpoint.

Kharn
10-21-2010, 4:48 AM
The ATF's decisions seem to revolve around the most complex part.

wash
10-21-2010, 5:46 AM
When did we get serial number requirements?

1914 is a long time ago, AR's were first manufactured in the 60's I think and FAL's are older than that.

It could be that at the time there were no requirements so the manufacturers did what they thought was right and ATF went along with it...

KWA-S
10-21-2010, 7:28 AM
Granted, that's a very old gun, but it made me think maybe the determination is more complex than "the part the serial number is on," because, by that logic, it'd be the slide on that pistol.

Is your 1911's frame serialized? I believe registered component should be the frame or receiver, or the part of said frame or receiver that is serialized. "the part the serial number is on" is also a really poor definition, because for weapons where the serial is printed several time, such as my SKS, which iirc, has its serial on its receiver, barrel, stock, gas tube, bolt carrier, bolt, extractor, and magazine, interesting questions get raised, such as which one (or several?) of those parts is the firearm.

Kharn
10-21-2010, 7:53 AM
The frame is the firearm for a 1911, the original serial number may have been lightly stamped and wore off or it was a 'lunchbox special' by one of the factory workers. Serial numbers were first required as part of the 1968 GCA but Colt was using them long before that, IIRC every Colt 1911 has a serial number.

bwiese
10-21-2010, 7:57 AM
The frame is the firearm for a 1911, the original serial number may have been lightly stamped and wore off or it was a 'lunchbox special' by one of the factory workers. Serial numbers were first required as part of the 1968 GCA but Colt was using them long before that, IIRC every Colt 1911 has a serial number.

Yes, I don't see old 1911s with un-/poorly-marked frames all of a sudden making the slide the FFL-required part. All 1911s have the frame/receiver as the key component, and the slide (regardless of marking) is not FFL transfer-controlled.

cineski
10-21-2010, 8:00 AM
It's all about the trigger.

Kharn
10-21-2010, 8:08 AM
It's all about the trigger.Not for the FAL, SCAR, FNC, Ruger MkII, Sten, Sterling, HK 91, 93, 94, etc.

CHS
10-21-2010, 8:41 AM
I'd started to reply with this idea, but then it occurred to me that I don't believe this is true on my M1911. Granted, that's a very old gun, but it made me think maybe the determination is more complex than "the part the serial number is on," because, by that logic, it'd be the slide on that pistol.

ETA: Or, am I mistaken, and, on my (manufactured in 1914) M1911, is the slide the "firearm", since it has the serial number?

That's a pre-'68 gun, so it doesn't legally even have to have a serial number on it. That's why it doesn't matter.

The BATFE at some point decided that the frame of a 1911 is the "firearm" (most likely post-68), and that's why 1911's today are serialed on the frame and not the slide.

Your 1911's frame is still the actual firearm, even though it has no serial number. While it would be blasphemy, you could in fact legally strip the gun down to just the frame and transfer the frame to someone in say a PPT. The FFL would not be able to record a serial number, and that would be ok. Still legal.

I love pre-'68 guns :)

trashman
10-21-2010, 9:33 AM
That's a pre-'68 gun, so it doesn't legally even have to have a serial number on it. That's why it doesn't matter.


Exactamundo.

For those of us, uh, that weren't shooting/collecting in '68, it is worth remembering that something as simple as legally required "unique serial numbers" is a relatively late innovation in gun laws.

The one quirk I don't fully understand is why a CETME (or HK91) has the upper receiver serially numbered -- when the trigger pack, hammer, etc, are all installed in the lower receiver (and that is not a controlled part - like the upper of an AR).

--Neill

the_quark
10-21-2010, 9:38 AM
That really is quite an interesting question. But my guess is that if you put your slide on a different frame that the BATF would still consider the firearm with that serial number to be the gun with the slide which hold that serial number. To that extent I'd say that your slide is the firearm - but if the firearm is disassembled I don't know if the BATF would consider that slide to be a firearm.

You're more expert on this stuff than I am, so if you disagree I'll likely adopt your viewpoint.

Puts down the crack pipe

Upon further reflection (i.e., as soon as I woke back up after being up in the middle of the night), I recalled that the serial number clearly is on the frame of that weapon, and I was just factually wrong in my assertion that it wasn't.

Bottom line: Don't trust "experts" when they say something stupid. :o

CSACANNONEER
10-21-2010, 9:41 AM
I could be wrong but the manufacturer may make a suggestion to the BATF and the BATF will review and approve it (or dis-approve). The one that bugs me the most is the Ruger auto, the barrel assembly is the controlled part. You can't switch barrels.

Thanx, Russ

It is possible to rebarrel a Ruger .22lr MKI, MKII or MKIII. In fact, I have a pre MK which was converted into a carbine. Someone installed a +16" barrel on it and a buttstock. So, it is possible to do. It's just not easy to do.

CaliB&R
10-21-2010, 10:43 AM
Just a wild pair of guesses, 1) its what the barrel attaches to, or 2) what accepts the magazine or clip. I'm leaning towards #2, but I have never really given it much thought.

ETA: Ok, after a little more thought, both of my guesses can apply. On a 1911 or FAL upper, the frame accepts the mag, as well as is attached to the barrel. Now on ARs the mag well is only on the lower, barrel on the upper.

Could it be a manufacturing thing? Handguns are frames, US uses lowers, and world uses uppers?

the_quark
10-21-2010, 11:22 AM
I think "where the serial number is" makes the most sense. I can't think of a firearm I've seen manufactured in the past thirty years that rule doesn't apply to.

CSACANNONEER
10-21-2010, 1:00 PM
I think "where the serial number is" makes the most sense. I can't think of a firearm I've seen manufactured in the past thirty years that rule doesn't apply to.

Nope. I have SN on AR type uppers. If I put one on a homebuilt lower without a SN, it would not mean that the firearm now has a SN.

IIRC, I've seen federal guidelines which define what part of the gun is actually the "receiver". The funny thing is that the AR15 is completely bass ackwards. According to the guidelines I've seen, the upper SHOULD be considered the legal firearm.

MoBait
10-21-2010, 3:19 PM
The lower receiver is bigger than the upper receiver on ARs

cmth
10-21-2010, 4:37 PM
It's completely possible to fire live ammo with only a complete AR15 upper receiver assembly, yet it's not legally a firearm. The same can be done with most slide assemblies of striker fired pistols. Not that I would advocate doing so out of concern for safety, but it can be done.

SVT-40
10-21-2010, 11:31 PM
The European standard is the "firearm" or controlled part is the portion which the barrel attaches to. Thats why FAL's, HK's ect have their serial numbers on their upper receivers. Same for eastern European AK rifles. The controlled part was the front trunnion and had the serial number engraved on it. The receiver as we call it was to them just a piece of sheet metal.

Because of US import standards many AK type firearms imported to the US now have their serial numbers also engraved on the sheet metal receiver as well as the front trunnion. Some like the Saiga do not and still only have the serial number on the trunnion.

In the US the standard to determine what is the controlled part has been where the fire control parts (Trigger, hammer, disconnector, sear Ect) are located.

Years ago when FN FNC 5.56 rifles were still being imported I received a large shipment of both 16" para type and 18" fixed stock rifles. Interestingly the 18" fixed stock rifles had their serial numbers on their lower receivers and the 16" para models had their serial numbers on their upper receivers.

I called FN and was told the reason for the different serial number locations was the manufacturing lines the rifles came off of. The fixed stock guns came of the "commercial" line and were intended for import into the US. So they had the numbers placed on the lower receiver.

The para models came off of the Military line , and although legal for import into the US, were manufactured to the European standard for serial number location. Meaning the serial numbers were place on the part attached to the barrel which was the upper receiver.